Prediction: Next Year, Your Mother Will Have a Podcast

September 30th, 2005 · 5 Comments
by Booksquare

Jennifer Weiner Book CoverWhile we have made a solemn vow to avoid the podcast train (our voice is not ready for prime time), it seems the rest of the world can’t avoid the next big thing. While publishers were slow to embrace decent websites (slow meaning we are still waiting) and blogs, they have jumped on the podcast like it’s a new double-triple caffeinated beverage.

Simon and Schuster add daily podcast to their featured offerings. We never thought we see the day where a major publisher had an RSS feed, but it has happened and now we need another thing we never expect to see. Holtzbrinck says they’ve reached 10,000 downloads and generated lots of interest. Other publishers are watching from the sidelines, wondering how they, too, can get them some of that podcast love (we hope they follow Little, Brown’s example and make friends with the iTunes crowd).

Because it is in our nature to be helpful, we offer some advice. First, of course, is to make your podcast page easy to find on your website. This will mean, in many cases, actually considering that people use your website and reconsidering design. Second, is to partner with your authors to ensure that they are also promoting the podcast. Don’t get all weird about this — make linking free and easy. Finally, look around and notice where today’s kids are hanging out and feed your podcast information to those sites. Do not assume that readers know publisher names. You’re not the celebrity here.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

5 responses so far ↓

  • ed // Oct 4, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    This is quite interesting, because Simon & Schuster has been among the worst about returning my emails and phone calls for Segundo offerings. Probably because they’re terrified of anyone asking even a remotely interesting (read: critical) question.

  • Booksquare // Oct 4, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    Ed, putting the fear of Segundo into publishers should be a point of pride. You have achieved what few of us ever will. That being said, I find it’s easier to work directly with authors on this sort of thing. Of course, I’m lazy and slightly terrified of the telephone.

  • ed // Oct 5, 2005 at 1:44 pm

    Heh…I won’t name names. But one publicist told me that s/he would not produce his/her author (interesting, that whole proprietary thing, eh?) because “I know who you are and what you do.” Yeah, I’m pretty proud of that. At the same time, my questions, while challenging, are never outright belligerent. They are intended to galvanize an author’s mind — the way interviews USED to be done back in the Dick Cavett/John Leonard days and would be done today, if the current media outlets weren’t fixated on gossip, keeping up cordial relationships with advertisers, and devoting pages upon pages to dull figureheads.

    I would never, for example, transform the Bat Segundo Show into partisan publicity. That’s not journalism; that’s capitulation. On the blog side of things, I’m still amazed that I receive emails from publicists who still seem to expect me to shill for their books for free, without reading them, much less offering a constructive opinion. (I’m sure you get these too.)

    In principle, working directly with an author generally works. Unfortunately, even authors, as agreeable as they often are to talk with me, need to coordinate with their publicists. The higher up the food chain you go, the less real control an author has. Some publicists are fantastic and understand this whole blog things. I can say nothing but positive words for the various Penguin imprints and the Random House folks. At least, you’re going to get a straight answer from them and they will bend over backwards to accommodate.

  • ed // Oct 5, 2005 at 1:45 pm

    Also, I find it interesting that the USA Today article only mentions publishers who podcast and not those scintillating independents like Pinky and Bookworm (the latter predominantly a radioshow) who interview.

  • Booksquare // Oct 6, 2005 at 10:29 am

    My guess is that USA Today isn’t even aware of the independents. And if they were, they wouldn’t know how to handle the concept (even Bookworm is relatively outside the NPR demographic mainstream…not to mention the fact that, at least around here, it’s aired at a low-listener time.

    And yeah, I get a lot of interesting, uh, offers to shill. Love those. Especially the ones with curious spelling and unusual relationships with commas.

    I’m liking the Segundo interviews — so at least your approach is reaching one person…